~This message was issued sitting at my dining room table that doubles as a gathering spot for the guides in addition to my office(…gr., another topic). Mixing Social Media with Pioneer Outfitters’ Master Guide Terry Overly (should have been a movie star!) is a verbal volcano about to erupt! This started out, as I sat in my assistant’s chair waiting for the Boss to finish with the email he wanted to have me send out for him, as he writes it by pen in his strange and most often indecipherable phonetic shorthand for me to translate into the English language (with periods.). So here is the Challenge!
“Randy, Terry Overly here. I have been reading your questions and comments on Alaska Chick’s Blog. I have never blogged or for that matter, used any of these electronics I am told we can’t live without. But then, I guess it might be very much like writing letters back in the so-called “good old days” where it took time and penmanship. Write the letter, fill out your envelope, lick a stamp, stick it in the corner, send it out. Through the good old U.S. Post Office. 7-10 days later, the letter would be received, then another 7-10 days, at least, to get a response. This was kinda slow compared to the instant email we do now.
The good side of the “good old days” was that it gave you the chance and time to evaluate, re-evaluate, reflect on the reason you are writing the letter, in the first place. Your concerns, Randy, are certainly legitimate in content, and as you may remember or not, I personally spoke with you three different times in 2010 about your proposed 30 day hunt with us.
You asked very good questions covering just about everything from “Do you need hip boots?” “Weather?” “Special clothing, as you were considering staying an entire month?” “References?” to “What caliber of rifle do I recommend?” and more.
The caliber of rifle I recommend would be any of the 300 mags with 180 grain bullets. There is not a fart in a whirlwind’s difference in the effective killing power of any of the 300 mags. I have them all and have taken game with them all. As I am sure you know the shooting distances vary with Rifles, muzzleloaders, pistols and bows.
What draw is your bow? What caliber of rifle do you use? A 30-06 with 180 grain bullets at 50 yards will have the same killing power as a 300 Ultra-mag at, let’s say, 100-125 yards. So, you just get a little closer if you can and if you can’t, well, just don’t shoot. The compound bow distance we aim for is 40 yards or closer and for a long bow, 20 yards or less (requires at least double if not triple the nerve factor).
We can’t forecast how the shot will range, on any given day, most all experienced hunters, be they rifle, archery, muzzleloader and lets not forget pistol hunters, know this. We can be prepared, however.
When you are paying big money for a Big Game Hunt of any kind, be it in Canada, Russia, Africa- South or the deep-dark, or Alaska, you are going to have a lot of money invested in it. Yes, money is an issue, to everyone. Airfare. Time off work. Licenses and tags, depending on the game you want to hunt. Taxidermy costs. Just things you want to buy for this hunt, whether you need them or not. Air charters. Hotels and so on. It’s kinda like a big-boys-spending-spree, yeah and this is ok.
But, these expenses have nothing to do with the Outfitter end of the hunt. We, the Outfitters, want you to have a good hunt as well as a successful hunt, with you taking the trophies that you want to harvest.
You asked me, the Outfitter / Guide, what I thought about bow hunting and I have been asked this question hundreds of times and I give the same answer each time. That’s fine, I don’t care if you want to hunt a Grizzly Bear with a baseball bat or a pocket knife, as long as it is a legal weapon. (That’s where experience comes in!)
We, here at Pioneer Outfitters, will advise what we think of your choice of a weapon and our guides carry appropriate back up, such as Marlin’s 45-70 or a 300 mag. Our job (one of mThe Challenge, you get 34-45 days.any-many) is to get you in stabbing range, if a knife was your choice. Or a Bow, or a spear. This is what we do. The excitement and challenge alone will have the guides fighting over this one! Trying to get that close to a powerful Grizzly or a giant 60” Alaska-Yukon Bull Moose, either one could stomp your ass if he so wished, arrow in him or not.
What a challenge that sounds to me like. What a great time, not just a kill. The kill is over in moments. The memory of the air on your face, the smell in the air, that moment you released your arrow or squeezed the trigger. The pictures and film. The being cold, wet, hungry, your butt and knees hurting from spending hours in an unfamiliar saddle, riding in the dark with Alders and Willows slapping you in the face, saying “SHIT! Man, this sucks! I am paying good money for this?!” Yep. Yes, you are paying good dollars for this because you will remember this trip for the rest of your pitifully boring life, living in the city, wishing you could have lived 100 years ago in the free and wild wilderness of times gone by.
We will do our best to make all these dreams come true for you, and we are good at it. We don’t give up. We don’t quit. We cannot by law, guarantee game and by nature of our rugged weather, can’t predict or guarantee good hunting conditions with our completely unpredictable weather.
$15,000.00, $30,000.00, $50,000.00 plus is a lot of money to pay for any sport. Drag-racing, horse racing, gambling in Vegas or Reno, whatever your particular turn-on is, with me it’s women. Women cost a lot of money, believe me, I know. Why do men and women do these things? Not just for the trophies, not just the hides and horns. We do these things for the memories that you carry with you for the rest of your life.
If all else fails apart as predicted in 2012, and all hell breaks loose, and life as we know it, you know it, the rest of the world knows it, is gone and over, and you are still kicking, the memories may be the only thing you have left to keep going on. If 2012-2013 comes and goes with no consequences you will still have had one of the best hunts you have ever been on. This country is awesome and incredible to behold.
Now, with all that said, I don’t know how many Outfitters you talk to in a year’s time, but I speak with hundreds of potential clients and hunters inquiring into our hunts every single year. Hundreds call me each year, just as you did and ask me the same questions as you did, and I answer each one just as thoroughly as I did with you.
Realistically, how many questions can you ask about something as simple as a hunting trip, Guided or not?
1- Airfare, charters, license & tags.
2- How to get trophies and meat home.
3- Weapons, ammo, special requirements
4- What kind of transportation in the field, aircraft, walk, horses
5- Country, cabins, camps
6- how far do we ride each day, hunt hours
7- Size of trophies to be expected..
8- Personal and particulars to each client or guest.
9- Weather to be expected for time of year of the hunt.
10- NOW THE BIG ONE, HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?
#10 is usually the one, that when answered, separates the “I am coming, what is the deposit and where do I send it? It’ll be there tomorrow.”from the other guys. The other guys really do, honestly, want to come, but when looking at the bottom line, realistically, they realize that the bottom line scares them. Maybe they can, in fact do it, but, wow, that is a lot of money.
Big Game Hunting is quite expensive by most people’s standards. Yes, everything costs money from an Outfitter’s stand point. You, the clients and guests, keep us in business. Your money is what buys the aircraft fuel to fly you around, to move your camps in and out, it buys the horses and horse feed, it buys the groceries to make sure you have good, real food to pack, it buys the camp gear, and we are talking a lot of camp gear, not just a couple nylon tents here, saddles, horse shoes, office equipment and so on. Three of our camps have private cook cabins at them, very nice and comfortable.
We live here year round in our hunting area. It is a fly in area. Everything we do is to promote our business, Hunting and non-hunting alike. It is what we do and nobody is going to just notice us driving by. This is our life. Make what you will out of it, but we love what we do. Pioneer Outfitters is our life. We do the very best we possibly can for each and every single client and guest that comes to us, Pioneer Outfitters in Chisana, Alaska.
We can’t fix the economy. We can’t change government policies. We can’t control the weather. We can’t make free range animals suddenly appear in front of you to harvest. What we can do and do, here at Pioneer Outfitters is give you the very best we can to get you the trophies you are here for and give you the best hunting experience we possibly can. That is a fact.
And, Randy, that means you, bud.Now, Randy, here is a Challenge for you. We are going to call it THE CHALLENGE.
Randy- You book your 30-Day Hunt with us here at Pioneer Outfitters this fall for the full month of September and you pay up front, as we discussed last Spring and Summer, $30,000.00. (which by the way, is a very good deal to start with.) As we always offer, on our last hunt in September, when moose season closes on the 30th of September, any client that has not harvested his or her Grizzly or Black Bear at that time is welcome to stay an extra 3-4 days at no charge to focus on getting their bear.
So, Randy, now we are talking about a 34-Day Hunt for your potential100% success. That’s a lot of hunting and time with Pioneer Outfitters for $30,000.00. But, wait it gets better!
IF you have not taken the game you came after, during that 34 days with us: Due to not seeing anything legal. Due to no opportunity to shoot, which means could not get close enough for a reasonable shot. A reasonable shot is 0-300 yards for moose, 0-250 yards for Grizzly and 0-400 for Dall Sheep.
You may come back the following year, and do it again. For Free.
~When you see game and pull your rifle out of your scabbard, you are usually in pursuit. When you lay down and put your cross hairs on an animal, you are “having a chance” to take that game. If you get in range, you have had a chance to take that game.
Now, bow hunting for Dall Sheep is very difficult, but this is your choice. It can be and has been done, numerous times. If you elect to try for Dall Sheep with your bow, and cannot get to bow range, but are inside of rifle range, this will count as opportunity.
Rules of The Challenge:
- We will film this hunt in it’s entirety.
- You use the weapon of your choice.
- If you do not see or stalk or have the opportunity to stalk a legal sheep, Grizzly or moose, you may come back in 2012, for free, no charge from Pioneer Outfitters at all. I really would like to see you take your Ram with a bow.
I remember you telling me that you would rather spend 30 days in the field for $30,000.00 for all game and not be rushed and have a great adventure than spend $20,000.00 on a Brown Bear hunt and only have 10 days in the field. Do you remember that, Randy? Now you have a chance to have collectively 45 days in the field for $30,000.00.
Well, this is the deal you can’t beat. You are up now, Randy.”